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Timpanogos Cave National Monument 
Statement for Management 

United States Department of the Interior - National Park Service 

August 1986 


6 198 


The statement for management (SFM) provides an 
up-to-date inventory of the park's condition and an 
analysis of its problems. It does not involve any 
prescriptive decisions on future management and use of 
the park, but it provides a format for evaluating 
conditions and identifying major issues and information 
voids . 

Recommended by: 

/s/ William E. Wellmen July 1, 1986 

Superintendent, Timpanogos Cave National Monument Date 

Approved by: 


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Boundary Map 

Timpanogos Cave 

National Monument 


United States Department of the Interior 
National Park Service 


Note : T4S. R2E 

Salt Lake Meridian, Utah Survey 

153 | 80.017 


Timpanogos Cave National Monument is located in Utah County, 
Utah, which is in the 3rd Congressional District. The 250 
acre monument is located in rugged, scenic American Fork 
Canyon. Access to the monument is via Utah Highway 92, the 
Alpine Scenic Loop. 


President Warren G. Harding by Proclamation No. 1540, dated 
October 14, 1922, under the authority of the Act of June 8, 
1906, (34 Stat. 225), established Timpanogos Cave National 
Monument. The series of three limestone caves was placed 
under the jurisdiction of the National Forest Service to be 
protected for its "unusual scientific interest and 
importance." Executive Order No. 6166, dated June 10, 1933, 
placed all national monuments under the jurisdiction of the 
Department of the Interior, and transfer of Timpanogos Cave 
to the National Park Service occurred on July 1, 1934. 
Under provision of the National Park Service Organic Act of 
1916, the area is to be managed in a manner which will 
conserve the natural resources and provide for public use 
and enjoyment. (See Appendix A.) 



There have been no significant boundary changes since 
establishment of the monument in 1922. However, a 
subsequent survey (1945) determined that the boundary as 
marked on the ground did not coincide with the diagram which 
formed part of the 1922 proclamation. Therefore, the 
description of the boundary was changed to conform with the 
physical boundary by Presidential Proclamation 3458, dated 
March 27, 1962. 

A List of Classified Structures Inventory was carried out in 
November 1975. A National Register nomination was submitted 
in February 1982 for the Timpanogos Cave Historical District 
which was placed on the National Register October 13, 1982. 
The contributing structures of the Historic District are: 
Superintendent's Residence, bridge, Comfort Station Building 
Number 126, Comfort Station Building Number 127, two cold 
cellars, the stone storage building, and the old Timpanogos 
Cave Trail. 

A permit was issued January 1, 1978, to Mountain States 
Telephone Company for the right-of-way for telephone 
transmission lines, expiring December 31, 1997. The lines 
have a visual impact on the area. 

An electric service agreement dated February 18, 1955, 
exists with Utah Power and Light Company. It assumed 
maintenance responsibility for a government-built line and 
agreed to furnish electrical service to the monument. On 
April 1, 1966, a contract was issued for reconstruction of 
the system by Utah Power and Light Company. There is 
considerable visual impact which could be minimized by some 
realignment which the company has agreed to do as 
replacement of poles becomes necessary. 

A limited concession permit was issued to Mr. and Mrs. Carl 
Wagner for a food and souvenir concession on January 1, 
1986, and will expire December 31, 1990. The concession 
operates approximately 6 months a year providing needed 
refreshments to visitors after the strenuous trail hike. It 
is housed in a portion of the visitor center constructed for 
that purpose and has minimal impact on the area. Souvenir 
sales consist primarily of sweat shirts for visitor comfort 
in the 43-degree cave. Other souvenirs assist in making the 
concession operations financially feasible. 

Executive Orders 11990 and 11988 control development on 
Wetland Habitats and 100-year flood plains. 


1 . Natural Resources 

The primary resource of the area is Timpanogos Cave located 
in the south wall of American Fork Canyon, 1,065 feet above 
the visitor center. Timpanogos Cave and nearby Hansen and 
Middle Caves are connected by manmade tunnels so that 
visitors enter the caves at Hansen Cave, travel through 
Middle Cave, and exit through Timpanogos Cave. The caves 
are small with no huge rooms or large passageways. 
Following the tour route the total distance through the 
caves is 1,800 feet. 

Stalactites, stalagmites, and other common features are 
found in the caves , but it is the tremendous number of 
helectites which make these caves unique. Helectites are 
small cave formations which twist and turn into strange and 
fantastic shapes as they grow from the cave walls or roof. 

Due to changes in elevation and exposure, a wide variety of 
plants are found within the monument. These plants may 
generally be grouped into three categories by the location 
in which they are found. South and west facing slopes, 
which are a warm and relatively dry environment, are 
dominated by gambel oak. 

The canyon floor provides a moist environment suitable for 
such large trees as cottonwood, box eider, and white fir. 

The cool, moist, shaded environment of the north facing 
slopes support white fir, Douglas fir, red osier dogwood, 
and mountain maple. 

Despite its small size a variety of animals are found within 
the monument. A few bats may be found in the caves, but 
they are not common. Cougar also live in the area; however, 
they are seldom seen. 

There are no known endangered plants or animals in the 
monument. However a threatened and endangered species 
survey has not been undertaken within the monument. 

2 . Cultural Resources 

There are few cultural resources outside of the Timpanogos 
Cave Historic District (see part III A). An archeological 
survey has been carried out in accordance with Executive 
Order 11593. The one site found, a Freemont style 
anthropomophic figure, does not meet the criteria for 
nomination to the National Register of Historic Places. The 
site is protected and inaccessible to the public due to its 
location. The survey report was completed in November 1975. 


Timpanogos Cave is surrounded by the Uinta National Forest. 
North of Utah Highway 92 (which bisects the park) , the park 
is enclosed by the 30,088-acre Lone Peak Wilderness Area. 
South of Highway 92, the Pleasant Grove Management Area 
surrounds the park. This area, which includes Provo and 
American Fork Canyons, is heavily used by local residents 
for various types of recreation, such as sightseeing, 
camping, picnicking, hunting, and gathering forest products. 

Over the past few decades the Wasatch front from Ogden to 
Provo has become increasingly urbanized. The population of 
Utah County, in which Timpanogos Cave is located, increased 
58.3 percent in the decade of 1970-80. While the area just 
outside the mouth of American Fork Canyon was largely small 
grain and livestock farms or fruit orchards 15 years ago, 

today it is predominately subdivided housing tracts. While 
the trend toward urbanization is expected to continue 
through at least the next decade, it should be much less 
intense than in the late 1970 's. Because the monument is 
buffered by the surrounding national forest and because 
visitation is already approaching the carrying capacity of 
the caves, the effect of the increased urbanization will be 
minimized. Foreseeable problems include possible damage to 
the resources from increased air pollution originating in 
the expanding urban areas and the need for increased law 
enforcement to protect both the park resources and park 
visitors . 

There are no private holdings within the boundary of the 
monument . 


The 1985 visitor season began with the opening of cave tours 
on May 18 and ended on November 2. During this time, 5,010 
cave tours were presented for 83,353 visitors. This is the 
highest number of cave visitors in the history of the 
monument. An additional 3,376 visitors were turned away; 
the majority of these were turned away because visitor 
demand for tours exceeds the carrying capacity of the caves 
on Saturdays and holidays. 

Approximately 75 percent of the park visitation occurs 
during June, July, and August. Visitation is comparatively 
light during the first half of June because Highway 92 is 
still closed just past the monument and because of the cool 
weather. From mid- June until schools are open in late 
August, visitation is consistently heavy. During this 
period of heavy visitation, visitors who arrive before 10 
a.m. may start up the trail for their cave tour immediately. 
Visitors arriving after 10 a.m. must wait at the visitor 
center before starting up the trail. 

On a week day, the wait will often be 1 hour by midafternoon 
because visitors are arriving faster than the tours can be 
given. There are 20 people to a tour, and tours are no 
closer than 10 minutes apart (maximum) , which is 
approximately 120 visitors per hour. 

This daily visitation pattern is consistent for all 
weekdays. The visitation pattern is similar on Sundays 
except visitation is extremely light during the morning. 
Saturday by far receives the heaviest visitation. Quite 
often there will be a line of visitors waiting at the door 
of the visitor center by 8 a.m. All tours for the day are 

usually filled by early afternoon and may fill as early as 
11 a.m. On weekends approximately 90 percent of the 
visitors are from Utah. On weekdays 70 percent of the 
visitors are from Utah and 30 percent from out of State. 

The Visitation Trends Graph illustrates a major decline in 
park visitation after 1977. This is an inaccurate picture 
since park visitation has always been calculated as a 
percentage of the cave tours. The percentage used to 
calculate total visitors was reduced in 1978. Note that the 
cave tours on the graph illustrate a more consistent trend. 
Cave tours are derived from actual count. 

Peak Day - 1985 

Date Number of Tours Cave Visitors Total Visitors 

7/4 64 1,275 1,912 

7/6 64 1,265 1,897 

7/13 64 1,275 1,912 

7/20 67 1,317 1,975 

7/24 60 1,220 1,830 

7/27 62 1,206 1,809 

Average daily visitation for July was 1,219; 813 cave 
visitors (Note: The cave was closed for 2-1/2 days due to 
a power line failure.) 

Noncave visitors view the audiovisual program, visit the 
museum, and picnic. 


1. Nonhistoric Roads and Trails - 600 feet of roadway, 
four parking lots (129 spaces) , IT&7 miles of paved trails. 

The main road through the monument is Utah Highway 92 and is 
maintained by the State. The only roads maintained by the 
park are the 500-foot road leading to the utility area and 
residence 2, and the 100-foot road leading to residences 8 
and 9. There is a 56-space parking lot at the visitor 
center, a 35-space parking lot across Highway 92 from the 
visitor center, a 13-space lot at the nature trail, and a 
25-space lot at the picnic area. 

The 1-1/2 mile trail from the visitor center to the cave is 
one of the major facilities in the park. This trail climbs 
1,065 feet along the steep south wall of American Fort 
Canyon. Due to the large number of visitors using this 
trail, it was paved in 1957. Because of the extreme weather 





250 t 




total annual park visitation 

total annual visitation through the cave 

1960 1965 1970 1975 1980 1985 

Annual Visitation 

Timpanogos Cave National Monument 

visitors (thousands) 



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conditions in the canyon and constant rockfall damage, the 
trail requires continuous maintenance. One third of the 
trail is resurfaced each year. The trail is in generally 
good condition. 

The trail through the cave is also paved and stairs and 
handrails are provided in more difficult passages. This 
trail is in good condition, but the handrails are old and 
need to be replaced. 

In addition to the cave trail, a 1/4-mile nature trail 
follows the American Fork River from the visitor center to 
the picnic area. Due to the considerably milder weather 
conditions on the canyon floor, this trail requires much 
less maintenance. The bridge at the east end of this trail 
was lost during the spring runoff in 1983. The trail is 
still accessible from the picnic area. A new bridge has 
been installed across Highway 92 from the visitor center, a 
location described in the 1983 general management plan. 
Construction of the new section of trail is underway as a 
YCC project. 

There are two roadway bridges and three footbridges across 
the American Fork River within the monument. All of these 
structures are maintained by the park and are in good 

The cave trail rockfall barrier, installed in 1977, is 
located in the exposed drainage above the cave rest room. 
This drainage is crossed seven times by the cave trail and 
is the most hazardous portion of the trail. The rockfall 
barrier is designed to stop rocks at the head of the 
drainage, thereby preventing them from falling onto the 
trail below. 

Retaining walls have been installed at various times along 
the American Fork River. A great deal of dry-laid stone 
retaining wall was built during the 1930 's and 1940' s; 
however, only a small portion of this wall remains intact. 

Following the flood in 1965, approximately 300 feet of 
rock-faced concrete stem retaining wall was constructed to 
protect the picnic area rest room, maintenance shop, and 
residence 2. Again following high water damage in 1983, an 
additional 500 feet of retaining wall was added to protect 
residence 8, the main waterline, the picnic area, and access 


2. Nonhistoric Buildings and Facilities 

The visitor center (constructed in 1967, 6,700 square feet) 
contains four administrative offices and visitor facilities 
including exhibit area, information and ticket sales 
counter, Southwest Parks and Monuments Association sales 
display, 100-seat auditorium with a 12 minute slide/ tape 
program, and public rest rooms. A concession area is 
separated from the main visitor center by a roofed patio. 
The concession area contains a snack bar and souvenir shop. 
This facility is in good operating condition. 

The maintenance shop (constructed in 1965, 2,194 square 
feet) contains four 18 foot by 24 foot bays used for 
equipment and vehicle storage, supplies storage, workspace, 
and office space for the maintenance foreman. A 10 foot by 
18 foot storage shed was added to the east end of the 
building in 1971. The structure is in good condition. 

Residences 8 and 9 (constructed in 1965, 1,400 square feet 
each) are typical Mission 66 houses with attached garages. 
Both houses are in good condition. Free standing wood 
stoves have been installed in each residence. 

The Swinging Bridge Picnic Area contains 16 sites and 24 
tables. The area is located along the American Fork River 
1/4 of a mile down the canyon from the visitor center. 
Tables, fire grills, trash receptacles, and water faucets 
are provided. Despite heavy use this facility is in 
generally good condition. 

An unheated comfort station (constructed in 1965, 375 square 
feet) is located in the picnic area. This facility contains 
men's and women's rest rooms and a utility room. Effluent 
from this rest room is pumped to the main leach field for 
disposal. The structure is in good condition. 

3. Utility Systems 

Three phase electric service is provided to the park by the 
Utah Power and Light Company. Considering the rather 
difficult access to the park facilities, service to the area 
is good. 

Telephone service is provided by Mountain Bell. Four lines 
are utilized by the park. 

Communications with the cave is by park radio. The system 
consists of a base station at the visitor center, two mobile 
units, and numerous handsets used by the maintenance crew, 
cave guides, and patrol rangers. 


Garbage is collected by the park maintenance staff and 
carried to the Orem City Landfill in the park truck. 
Usually two trips per week are needed in the summer and one 
or two trips per week during the rest of the year. 

The entire water system in the canyon floor is gravity 
operated. The water source is two boxed springs located 510 
feet higher than the visitor center elevation on National 
Forest Service land in Swinging Bridge Canyon. From the 
springs , water flows through a 4 inch iron pipe to the 
hyprochlorinator building--a distance of approximately 1,300 
feet with an elevation loss of 334 feet. At this point the 
water for the park is treated with chlorine gas and the 
volume of the water metered. Water excess to the park's 
needs continues down the 4 inch line and feeds into the Utah 
Power and Light Company's 24 inch line. After treatment and 
metering, the water is fed through a 2 inch line into a 
100,000 gallon above ground steel tank. From this tank, 
water flows to the facilities in the canyon floor through 4 
inch mains and 2 inch lateral pipes. A 20,000 gallon 
underground concrete tank is located along the line to the 
utility area. This tank is used for additional storage and 
allows manual operation of the system when the steel tank 
and chlorinator are out of service. The water system is in 
good condition. 

The sewer system in the canyon floor is composed of septic 
tanks and drain fields. An 11,000 gallon septic tank serves 
the visitor center and residences 8 and 9. The Swinging 
Bridge picnic area rest room has a separate septic tank. 
The drain field for both tanks is located across the highway 
from the picnic area. Since the drain field is located 
slightly higher than the picnic area rest room, effluent is 
held in an underground vault at the rest room. When the 
vault is full, the effluent is automatically pumped up to 
the drain field. A secondary pump automatically takes over 
should the primary pump fail. The maintenance shop and 
residence 2 have a separate tank and drain field. Both 
systems are in fair condition and operating smoothly. 

The water source at the cave is a pool approximately 300 
feet into Hansen Cave, this part of the cave is closed to 
the public. The water is pumped from the pool into two 
2,500 gallon redwood tanks. From the tanks the water flows 
by gravity to a 125 gallon steel tank where it is batch 
chlorinated. The water continues by gravity to the drinking 
fountain in the Grotto. This system works quite well 
although it requires a substantial amount of manual 

Power for the cave lighting system is supplied through an 
overhead powerline originating near the maintenance area and 


entering the cave through the natural entrance to Middle 
Cave. Within the caves the system contains 135 lights 
controlled by magnetic and manual switches and mercury 
relays. The system is in generally good condition. 

4 . Historic Structures 

The Timpanogos Cave Historic District was placed on the 
National Register on October 13, 1982. The Historic 
District contains the following structures. 

Residence 2 is a stone two-bedroom house without a garage 
constructed in 1945. This structure is extremely 

The interior was remodeled in 1983-84; however, the stone 
exterior for which the building was nominated was not 
modified. The structure is in good condition. 

The old bathhouse (336 square feet) was originally used as 
the bathhouse for the cave campground. This 1928 structure 
is presently used only for storage and is in fair condition. 

The cave rest room (153 square feet) was constructed in 1939 
beside the cave trail near the entrance to Hansen Cave. The 
building contains men's and women's rest rooms and a small 
storage room. The toilets are vault type. There is no 
water or heat in the building. Sewage is retained in a 
2,000 gallon concrete vault below the rest room. A small 
exhaust fan causes air to flow in through the toilets and 
out a small stack which keeps odors within reasonable 
limits. Each fall the holding vault is drained into a 
sludge pit located 160 feet down the mountain side. This 
cave rest room structure is in good condition. 

5 . Equipment 

Trail Truck - This small diesel powered vehicle was custom 
built by the Young Machine Company of Monticello, Utah, for 
use on the cave trail. It is the only machine in the park 
capable of transporting sizable loads to the cave entrance 
or exit. The truck has a 1-yard hydraulically operated box 
and a snow plow attachment for clearing roads and parking 
lots during the winter. Cost: $25,500 

Loader - A small Bobcat loader with backhoe and roadbroom 
attachments is used for general maintenance and trail 
maintenance on the lower half of the cave trail. Cost: 


Vehicles - Two General Service Administration rental 
vehicles are used in the park: a midsize sedan, which 
serves as the park law enforcement vehicle and general 
transportation, and a 3/4-ton truck with box and hoist used 
for general maintenance and hauling trash to the landfill. 

Miscellaneous Equipment (partial list) 

Pneumatic drill 

Cash register (2) 

Chain saw (2) 

Air compressor (electric) 

Table saw 

Drill press 

Snow blower 

Litter-Vac sweeper 
Concrete mixer 
Compressor (gas) 
Welders (electric and 

Trail bike 
Rotary hammer 
Wet Vacuum 



Name of Plan/ Study 



Preparer Approved on Adequacy Repository 

General Management Plan/ Park/RMR 9/27/83 Adequate Park/Region 
Development Concept Plan/ 
Interpretive Prospectus 

Natural Resources 
Management Plan 

Cultural Resources 
Management Plan 


9/83 Adequate 
8/84 Adequate 



Most of Timpanogos Cave National Monument is in a natural 
management zone. The cave itself is classified as an 
outstanding natural feature subzone. The natural zone 
comprises 94 percent of the park. 

The remaining 
percent) and 
historic zone 
which is on 
The old cave 

land is divided into a historic zone (1-1/2 
a development zone (4-1/2 percent) . The 
contains the Timpanogos Cave 
the National Register of 
trail, cave trail rest room, 
structures dating from the 1930' s and 1940 
zone. The majority of the structures are 
just inside the west boundary of the monument. 

Historic District 

Historic Places. 

and several stone 

1 s are within the 

along Highway 92 



monument boundary 
cave access trail 
cave trail 
picnic trail 
nature trail 

natural zone-94% /250 acres 

outstanding natural feature 
subzone (underground) 

development zone-4.5%/11.25 acres 

historic zone-1.5%/3.75 acres 

structure included in historic zone 

total- 265 acres 


500 feet 

approximate scale 
contour interval 100' 

Existing Management Zoning Map 

Timpanogos Cave National Monument 

United States Department of the Interior - National Park Service 

153 I 80,018 
Mar. '84 I RMRO 



Provide protection for the natural and cultural resources of 
the monument . 

Issue : 

Airborne pollutants from nearby industrial areas may be 
causing damage to the cave resources. 

Specific Objectives ; 

a. Determine the types of pollutants present in the caves. 

b. Determine the effects of the pollutants on the cave 
resources . 

c. Develop appropriate methods of mitigation of any 
harmful effects. 

2. Increasingly heavy visitor use is causing loss of 
native vegetation and accelerated erosion along the cave 
trail, in the picnic area, and along the river bank near the 
visitor center. 

Specific Objective : 

Determine methods of mitigating this damage. 


Provide the opportunity for safe and meaningful visitor 
experiences in the monument. 

Issue : 

Provide interpretive media and programs which will increase 
the opportunities for meaningful visitor experiences. 

Specific Objective : 

Develop effective museum exhibits, audiovisual programs, 
wayside exhibits, cave tours, and other interpretive program 
(for further information see the Interpretive Prospectus, 
1983 General Management Plan, p. 15-21). 



Reduce vandalism to monument signs and facilities. 

Issue ; 

Vandalism to monument signs and facilities reduces the 
quality of the visitor experience and wastes park resources. 

Specific Objective : 

Develop methods of reducing vandalism. 



73. Timpanogos Cave National Monument 

Establishment: Proclamation (No. 1640) of October 14, 1922 



[No. 1640— Oct. 14, 1922 — \2 Stat. 2285] 

Whereas, a natural cave, known as the Timpanogos Cave, which is 
situated upon unsurveyed lands within the Wasatch National Forest in the 
State of Utah, is of unusual scientific interest and importance, and it appears 
that the public interests will be promoted by reserving this cave with as 
much land as may be necessary for the proper protection thereof, as a 
National Monument. 

Now, therefore, I, Warren G. Harding, President of the United 
States of America, by virtue of the power in me vested by section two of 
the Act of Congress approved June eight, nineteen hundred and six, entitled, 
"An Act for the preservation of American antiquities," do proclaim that there 
is hereby reserved from all forms of appropriation under the public land 
laws, subject to all prior valid adverse claims, and set apart as a National 
Monument, the tract of land in the State of Utah shown as the Timpanogos 
Cave National Monument on the diagram forming a part hereof. 

The reservation made by this proclamation is not intended to prevent the 
use of the lands for National Forest purposes under the proclamation estab- 
lishing the Wasatch National Forest, and the two reservations shall both be 
effective on the land withdrawn but the National Monument hereby 
established shall be the dominant reservation and any use of the land which 
interferes with its preservation or protection as a National Monument is 
hereby forbidden. 

Warning is hereby given to all unauthorized persons not to appropriate, 
injure, deface, remove, or destroy any feature of this National Monument, 
or to locate or settle on any of the lands reserved by this proclamation. 

In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal 
of the United States to be affixed. 

Done at the City of Washington this fourteenth day of October, in the 
year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and twenty-two, 

[seal] and of the Independence of the United States of America the 
one hundred and forty-seventh. 

Warren G. Harding. 

By the President : 

Charles E. Hughes, 
Secretary of State. 



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